Is the pen as mighty as the … camera?
With cameras are increasingly being banned at daily White House press briefing, CNN is doing what it can to shine a less technological light on what’s going on behind closed doors. So on Friday, the cable network sent a sketch artist into the afternoon briefing with Press Secretary Sean Spicer in an attempt to still get the picture.
Spicer and his deputy Sarah Huckabee Sanders — who has been holding the daily briefings more and more lately, but that’s a whole other story — have only held four official on-camera briefings in June.
“Some days we’ll do it” on camera, Spicer said on Friday of the lack of access. “I think it’s great for us to come out here and have a substantive discussion about policies. I don’t think that the be all and end all is whether it’s on television or not.”
Of course plenty of jokes were made about the situation on social media.
But journalists, and many others, are taking the camera ban very seriously. Here’s a statement from Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents Association.
“White House briefings and press conferences provide substantive and symbolic opportunities for journalists to pose questions to officials at the highest levels of the U.S. government. That exercise, conducted in full view of our republic’s citizens, is clearly in line with the spirit of the First Amendment. Doing away with briefings would reduce accountability, transparency, and the opportunity for Americans to see that, in the U.S. system, no political figure is above being questioned. The White House Correspondents’ Association would object to any move that would threaten those constitutionally-protected principles.”
Reporters have voiced frustration on Twitter as well.
However, some think CNN and others aren’t handling the briefing brouhaha appropriately.
Others thought Friday’s sketches were awesome.
CNN media reporter Brian Stelter defends the decision this way.
“The point here is serious,” he said on Friday. “CNN did not send a cartoonist in order to make fun of the briefing, it sent an actual sketch artist because it’s a way to create a picture, paint a picture of these briefings for people because we, the viewers, were not able to watch on camera.”
As I noted on air, CNN sent a courtroom artist to document the W.H. briefing — NOT a cartoonist to satirize it https://t.co/BUsMfEKvr9
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 23, 2017
Good move? Bad move? Send a tweet to @sdutideas to let us know what you think and we may add it to this page.
Copyright © 2017, The San Diego Union-Tribune